Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pitch the Tent

Every summer when I was younger my family and I used to go camping. Sometimes we would go more than once, but we always made sure we made it to Lake Murray, Oklahoma, every year. The day before we went camping, my dad and brothers would load the station wagon and the trailer. We didn't always have the trailer. Before that, we would have to stuff everything into the back of the station wagon and stuff the six of us in the front half of the station wagon. Getting the trailer was definitely a good thing. It gave us a lot more space and saved my poor mother from hearing, "Mom, he's touching me!" My mom was very organized in the packing. She had a very long list of camping must haves that she saved from year to year. I think that one year we forgot something critical like tent stakes or something, hence the list. We were authentic campers, so we brought all of our food. I think I helped my mom get all of this stuff ready.

On the way to Lake Murray, we would play car bingo. You know, the little board with pictures of a tractor or a railroad crossing sign and once you found it you got to cover it up. Sometimes my mom would have taped books for us to listen to, like Hank the Cow dog. It was only a two and half hour drive, but that was like an eternity for us because we were used to flying everywhere.

We usually went to the same campsite every year. It was on a little peninsula, jetting out into the lake. It was right across from a large dock where we went fishing occasionally. Most importantly, however, it was a good distance from the bathrooms.

We would spend our days swimming in front of our campsite or making clay figurines that we always would want to take back home with us, but my mom wisely refused because they just turned back into dirt. Sometimes it would be just so hot that we would just lay in the water all day.

One of my favorite memories of camping was the meals. We had the best dinners around the campfire. We made pizzas and fruit pies in cast iron skillets. We made hobo dinners--take meatballs, potatoes, and corn, put in tin foil, set on the coals. My dad would popcorn. We would make s'mores. O, breakfast was always really good, too. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, mmmm boy!

I hope that when I have a family we will take fun camping trips like this. Even though it was super hot most of the time, the parts I remember the most was spending time with my siblings, playing games, and being together. Toward the end of high school it became a lot harder for us to schedule trips because everyone had a job, but more recently we have been able to go camping in Tyler with Eric, Sheryl, and Emily. We usually spend a lot of time reminiscing about old camp trips or poking fun of my dad and his very specific ways. I hope I never forget the fun times we have had camping:)

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